I've been surprisingly excited about the idea of freelancing my web development skills all of a sudden. The excitement has had me back in my programmer's chair, slaving away at a new incarnation of my personal web site. I feel that I have a lot more ideas lately about how to sell myself as well as an answer to what exactly I have to sell. I wonder if that is a result of the experience of the trail.
I enjoy reading the PCT email list discussions. The list is starting to get 2009 hopefuls, writing in for advice about gear. It's fun to see how they usually start their emails off with "I'm hoping to maybe hike the PCT next year." That kind of hesitance rarely gets by the seasoned PCT hikers. They will tell them, "Stop hoping and just do it!".
Stop wondering what it would be like to work for yourself and just do it. That's what my mind has been saying lately. Living your dreams seems to be a universal lesson learned among PCT hikers. Just go to the terminus and start walking.
In order to support my dream, I've read several books on starting a small business. I've been toying with Wordpress again, investigating its content management abilities, and learning its templating features. I have a plan for a new blog, one that will not have a lot of articles, but the articles that it does have will be focused and purposeful, designed to market myself. I've been learning a little about copywriting, although I have almost no skills in it. I have seen some bad copy and know I could improve it with the limited, untrained skills I already do have. All of these things I'm doing to myself are things I will be able to do for others.
It is disconcerting to realize that I have not been employed since March. But I feel better about that because I am giving myself an education, checking out books at the library in order to learn what I need to learn to run my own business and improve my marketable skills. The small number of gigs I've already had have helped me move forward. No job has been too small. They have all helped me focus. I have learned what kind of people I enjoy working with, what kinds of things people need help with, how much valuable knowledge and skill I posess.
And in this crumbling economy, what other choice do I have anyway? Corporate gigs are becoming harder to find, and you know they aren't becoming more pleasant in this atmosphere.
I feel kind of like I've walked into Idyllwild. I've gone far enough to feel like I have a direction now and that I am really going somewhere. I fell off the edge after I got off the trail, and now I'm finally walking forward again. Power forward.